The new near is less than two weeks away and we’ve set our sights on 2012. As the producer of our Web site, I’m always interested in what each new year brings in regard to the Web. Thanks to my contacts at Informatics, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Web development company, a concise list has already been compiled. With their permission, I’m re-running it here!
1. Google mixes it up.
Google will continue to update and refine its search parameters to better fulfill the needs of the search-going public. Fresh content, social media and other data will play a larger role in determining search results in the upcoming year. Note: Quirk’s is working to ensure that our site keeps up. In the past year alone our organic Google search results were up 32 percent.
2. Mobile usage grows.
No surprise here. Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will continue to take a share of the desktop market. It is not a trend, rather a necessity, to have a mobile-ready Web site these days, as potentially one-fifth of searches will be conducted via mobile devices. It’s also estimated that 2012 will be the first year smartphones outsell desktop PCs. Note: With our magazine app, our new directory of focus group facilities app andour Researcher SourceBook app, Quirk’s is the industry leader in adapting to mobile!
3. The end of Flash.
Is this the year Flash finally dies? Not necessarily, but the plugin may be on life-support. Adobe has stopped development of its mobile Flash plugin, meaning contemporary devices like the Android and BlackBerry will soon join the iPhone and iPad as Flash-free devices. The desktop version of Flash will linger on for now but the future doesn’t look too bright.
4. More HTML5 and CSS3 Web sites.
If you’re not a Web developer the letters and numbers above may not mean anything to you. You should know, however, that it does represent a giant leap in Web technology. It’s estimated that half of all Internet users currently have a browser capable of handling HTML5 and sites developed using this technology load faster, are easier to find and generate a more fluid user experience.
5. Graceful degradation of Web site designs.
Graceful degradation implies designing for contemporary browsers and then gracefully eliminating design element to accommodate outdated browsers. Creating design details like rounded corners, gradients and drop shadows are time-consuming and expensive to implement in browsers like Internet Explorer 7 or 8. Why spend money supporting a shrinking market when you can ensure the long-term future of the site by designing for the next generation of browsers?
6. Internet video marketing continues to grow.
Online videos have a major impact on Web site search engine optimization. An online video is 50 times more likely to get a first-page Google ranking than a text page. Expect businesses to take notice and continue to add relevant video to their Web sites. Note: Only Quirk’s allows all directory listings to include video and only Quirk’s has a directory of multimedia content.
7. Has Facebook peaked?
Inside Facebook reports that Facebook lost nearly 6 million users from the United States in 2011. Some analysts dispute the numbers, while others expected it, saying Facebook has become too commercial and saturated. Even if the numbers are true and Facebook doesn’t continue to grow in the U.S., it’s still a heavyweight in the digital arena with nearly 150 million users.
8. The future of Google+.
It will be a make or break year for Google+, the social networking site Google launched in 2011 to compete with Facebook. Google+ has many intrinsic advantages over Facebook, such as search, Gmail, YouTube and Picasa integration. Is that enough to convince users to migrate to a new service? 2012 could prove to be the year that question is answered. Note: Visit Quirk’s on Google +1 and be sure to +1 us!